A former Indian student who studied at the College of St Rose in New York in the United States was sentenced to 12 months in prison followed by one year of supervised release. He was found guilty of intentionally damaging computer equipment owned by the institution.
The man, identified as 27-year-old Vishwanath Akuthota, was also ordered to pay an amount of $58,471 as restitution. Vishwanath reportedly hailing from Andhra Pradesh's Chittoor district and had pursued Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Computer Information systems (CIS) at the university.
"In pleading guilty, Akuthota admitted that on February 14, 2019, he inserted a â€śUSB Killerâ€ť device into 66 computers, as well as numerous computer monitors and computer-enhanced podiums, owned by the college in Albany. The â€śUSB Killerâ€ť device, when inserted into a computerâ€™s USB port, sends a command causing the computerâ€™s on-board capacitors to rapidly charge and then discharge repeatedly, thereby overloading and physically destroying the computerâ€™s USB port and electrical system," the US Attorneyâ€™s office said.
Investigation officials had submitted abundant evidence to the court, which included CCTV footage of the entire incident. Vishwanath also reportedly recorded himself, as he went about destroying the computers, videos of which were also submitted to the court.
â€śAkuthota is a citizen of India, residing in the United States on a student visa. He has been in custody since he was arrested in North Carolina on February 22, 2019,â€ť the US Attorneyâ€™s office added.
The case was investigated by James N. Hendricks, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); and Chief Eric Hawkins of the Albany Police Department (APD). It was prosecuted by Assistant US Attorney Wayne A Myers.